With the latest “NSA can break encryption” revelations, I think it’s important to know what this really means. Unfortunately, we really can’t because we don’t know the details.
Here is a link to an article from a security tech guy writing for the Guardian. He’s seen Snowden documents. What he says, and what I’ve read in other sources, is that the NSA doesn’t have some incredible mathematical algorithm to hack encryption. They’ve managed to hack the keys that encrypt. They have back doors.
Snowden himself said:
Encryption works. Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on.
The final paragraph of the article says:
Trust the math. Encryption is your friend.
For most people, this whole subject is overkill. The author has one laptop that he specifically never connects to the internet. But he’s dealing with the Snowden documents. That’s not a normal situation.
If you have real security concerns, his recommendations are very good.